Bus travel in London at 50 year high

21 July 2012  •  Source: Transport for London (TfL)

London Buses carried more than 2.3 billion passengers and travelled 490 million kilometres last year – the highest number in 50 years.

The new figures, released today, come as the capital gears up to celebrate the biggest festival of sport and culture London has ever seen with the start of the London 2012 Games just a week away.

For the year ending 31 March 2012, London’s buses carried 2.34 billion passengers, up 2.4 percent on the previous year. This is the highest number of passenger journeys since records began in 1959.

Dial-a-Ride, TfL’s free door-to-door service for people with long term disabilities and older people, also had a record year providing 1.4 million trips during 2011/12.

London’s bus network is one of the largest and most comprehensive urban transport systems in the world. Every weekday over 7,500 buses carry 6.5 million passengers on 700 different routes across the Capital and account for around half of all bus journeys in England.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “Not only do millions of people rely on London’s iconic red buses every day, but they are also a central feature of this great city’s identity. Now joined by the beautiful and immensely popular Routemaster-inspired new bus for London, and with the 2012 Games just around the corner, they have a central role to play both for the millions of extra visitors over the coming weeks, and for the Londoners who value them so dearly on a day-to-day basis.”

London has one of the most accessible bus networks in the world. The entire fleet is now low-floor wheelchair accessible and fitted with our iBus system providing audio and visual next stop information. A new Mobility Aid Recognition Scheme has recently been introduced to make it easier for bus drivers to recognise which mobility scooters and other mobility aids can be carried on buses. New accessibility guidance will also soon be issued to drivers.

Dial-a-Ride’s fleet of 370 specialist vehicles now includes 209 new low-floor minibuses following investment in a further 49 vehicles during the year. The new minibuses feature foldable seats and plenty of space for wheelchair users, making the service easier to use than ever.

TfL has also recently completed the roll-out of 2,500 new Countdown signs at bus stops in addition to the live bus arrival information provided for over 19,000 stops through our web and SMS services. The service is proving extremely popular with more than 2.5 million hits a day.

Leon Daniels, Managing Director Surface Transport said: “TfL is investing a lot of resources to continue to improve London’s bus network while making it accessible to everyone. This is vital if we want to see continued growth. The latest figures show that investment is paying off with more and more people using London’s bus service. Buses are hugely efficient users of road space and inexpensive to use and that has to be good for Londoners.”

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